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Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are designed to provide quality care for those who cannot care for themselves. These centers should maintain, or even improve, the quality of life of their residents. Unfortunately, statistics show that 30% of nursing homes have been cited for abuse of their residents. If your loved one has been abused, neglected, or injured in an Oklahoma nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important that you report the suspected abuse immediately and consider seeking counsel from an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer. If the abuse results in the decline in health or even death of your loved one, contact Lawter & Associates, PLLC, with offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, for compassionate, committed nursing home lawyers who will work to protect your loved one and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Nursing Home Law FAQ’s
Q: What are some signs to look for if I suspect my loved one is being abused or neglected?
A: Nursing home abuse includes physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse as well as over-sedation. Neglect is a failure to adequately care for and protect the patient or resident. Oklahoma Nursing homes must make sure a patient’s clothes are clean and appropriate and must provide medical care. They must ensure their residents’ well-being, protecting them from health and safety hazards and abuse from other residents, and preventing malnutrition and dehydration.
Signs of abuse or neglect include dehydration, weight loss, bedsores, bruises, and soiled clothing or bedding. An abused resident may appear fearful, withdrawn, or depressed. If you suspect abuse or neglect, notify the nursing home administrator immediately. The administration must investigate your claim and report it to the appropriate state agency. If you feel your claim was not properly investigated or resolved, contact Adult Protective Services and the Tulsa and Oklahoma City nursing home attorneys at Lawter & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation.
Q: What are the legal obligations and responsibilities of a nursing home to its residents?
A: The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) ensures that residents of nursing homes receive quality care. The act requires that nursing homes which receive Medicare and Medicaid funding meet criteria established to maintain or enhance the quality of life of each resident. The NHRA specifies patient rights, including the right to privacy, safety, and autonomy. Nursing homes must promote and protect these rights.
Under the act, nursing home facilities must assess the patient’s strengths, needs, and interests within two weeks of admission or within seven days for Medicare residents. Reviews must be held annually, or whenever a resident’s condition changes and warrants reassessment. Within seven days of this assessment, a care plan must be established outlining how the patient will be cared for, who will perform tasks, and when each element of care will be completed. Nursing homes are required to document the assessments and care plans and to keep record of care provided.
Q: Can the nursing home restrict my loved one’s access to visitors?
A: The facility is allowed to set reasonable visiting hours in the best interest of their visitors. The resident may choose whether or not he or she wishes to receive visitors, and is able to change consent at any time. Visits from medical personnel, including the resident’s general physician, and visits from state and local representatives are always permissible at nursing homes in Oklahoma. If these rights have been denied seek counsel from our nursing home neglect lawyers.
Q: Do nursing homes have any obligations regarding the finances or property of its residents?
A: According to Oklahoma guidelines, nursing homes must put a resident’s funds in an interest bearing account, and must be able to provide a full accounting of those funds. A patient is never required to deposit his or her funds with the facility in order to receive care. Additionally, the nursing home must protect the patients from misappropriation of property or funds, by either the facility or other residents.
Q: What guidelines regulate a resident’s move from a nursing home, either voluntarily or involuntarily?
A: If a resident is fully capable of making the decision to move to another facility, the nursing home cannot restrict or prevent the move. If the patient is unable to make such a decision, the immediate family or guardians are allowed to make the decision.
An Oklahoma nursing home can require a resident to leave under certain situations and following specific criteria. Federal regulations require the facility to provide the resident with written notice 30 days in advance, and they must complete an appropriate discharge plan. Termination or transfer cannot be arbitrary and must be for at least one of the following reasons:
- The facility is unable to provide necessary care.
- The resident’s health has improved to the extent he or she no longer needs care.
- The resident’s presence endangers the health or safety of other individuals in the facility.
- The resident is unable to pay for care.
- The facility is closing.
If you have further questions contact the Oklahoma nursing home lawyers at Lawter & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation.
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